To the Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign

Stephen W. Sears, Author
Stephen W. Sears, Author Stan Clark Military Books $24.95 (468p) ISBN 978-0-89919-790-6
Reviewed on: 08/31/1992
Release date: 09/01/1992
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-395-70101-0
Paperback - 512 pages - 978-0-618-12713-9
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Sears complements his 1988 biography of George McClellan with this definitive analysis of the general's principal campaign. McClellan's grand plan was to land an army at Yorktown, move up the Virginia peninsula toward Richmond, and fight a decisive battle somewhere near the Confederate capital, thereby ending the Civil War while it was still a rebellion instead of a revolution. The strategy failed in part because of McClellan's persistent exaggerations of Confederate strength, but also because under his command the Federals fought piecemeal. The Confederates were only marginally more successful at concentrating their forces, but Sears credits their leaders, especially Lee, as better able to learn from experience. Confederate victory on the Peninsula meant the Civil War would continue. The campaign's heavy casualties indicated the kind of war it would be. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Sept.)
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